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Officials consider establishing curfew next summer

| Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005

Thea Letteri thinks a curfew in Penn Hills would work, if implemented properly.

Penn Hills officials want to do just that for youth ages 18 and under. They are looking at establishing a curfew that would go into effect when school lets out next year.

"If kids are out playing basketball, I don't see a problem with that. If they're standing in the middle of the street making trouble, then (the police) should be able to say something," said Letteri, 17, a Penn Hills High School senior.

There have been complaints in the summer months about groups of youths congregating in certain areas of the borough, safety director Dom Costa said.Those areas include Jefferson Road, Frankstown Road and streets without sidewalks, he said.

Tia Warner, a Penn Hills mother of a 2-year-old, thinks a curfew is needed.

"Kids around here are crazy," Warner said. "But this (a curfew) is something that will be tough to be enforced."

Letteri said she has friends in neighborhoods where teenagers stand in throngs on streets, which makes it hard for drivers to pass.

"I could see how that would be an annoyance for their neighbors," Letteri said.

But Brittany Rose, 16, another Penn Hills High School student, said she doesn't think a curfew would work.

"You are just going to have kids sneaking out of the house," Rose said. "Kids will push it to see if they can stay (out) past 10."

Costa said a time for a curfew has not been determined, but Mayor Anthony DeLuca and council have been looking at other communities that have a curfew to see if one could be tailored to Penn Hills.

One of those communities is Swissvale, which has had a curfew in place since 1982.

"We've had it for a while," Swissvale public safety director Joe Morman said.

Swissvale's curfew whistle goes off at 9:45 p.m. for youths 18 and under throughout the year, Morman said. Youths have to be off the streets by 10 p.m. The ordinance came from community suggestions, and fines range up to $1,000 and possible imprisonment for the parents or legal guardians if payment is missed or defaulted, Morman said.

"This (a curfew) will be a good tool for law enforcement, and we know the majority of our teens will abide by the law," Costa said. "There will be stipulations if they are coming from work. But you really don't want to be walking on the streets past 11 because there are no sidewalks in most places of Penn Hills."

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